If your company sells consumer products or services, there’s a very important person you need to get to know.

She’s the Protector Mom, and she could be your target market.

For veterans in the juvenile market, the concept of mom-centric marketing is nothing new. Moms are a key demographic in marketing plans for products from diapers and juice boxes to vacuum cleaners and laundry detergent. But now, there’s an added twist – after digging deeper into the mind of the mom to determine what really drives their purchase decisions, researchers are finding that it all boils down to moms’ basic drive to keep their families safe from harm.

More than anything, moms want to have more control over their home environments. There’s always something to worry about on the outside, from swine flu, to sex and violence on TV, or the economy. Mothers know they can’t control what goes on outside the home, but they take every possible step to make sure their families’ immediate environments are safe and secure.

We call this psychographic profile the “Protector Mom.”

Traits of the Protector Mom

  • Young children (ages 0-7) in the home

  • Concerned about keeping a clean, comfortable, germ-free home, but dislike housework

  • Want to protect their families from harm both in and outside the home

  • Busy schedules, looking for convenience and stress-free solutions

  • Search for information about potential purchases online

Companies like Dodge, General Motors, Evenflo and Johnson & Johnson all have recently embarked upon marketing campaigns designed to woo moms who want to protect their families from harm both in and outside the home.

What does this mean for your company?

If you have a product or service that Protector Moms would benefit from, you may want to consider implementing a social media strategy. A recent study by the Marketing to Moms Coalition found that moms spend an average of three hours online each day, with social networking sites and blogs being some of moms’ main destinations.

Get to know the mommy bloggers.

Mommy bloggers are mothers who write and maintain blogs, either as a hobby, or, in some cases, as a way to make money. Some mommy bloggers accept products for review and post reviews on their blogs. Even large corporations have taken note – Johnson & Johnson has a wide-ranging mommy-blogger strategy that includes sending out product samples to mommy bloggers for review.

Offer an experience.

Consider whether there is a unique experience you can offer moms. Maybe you send influential mommy bloggers a gift certificate to be used on your product or service. Several companies, including Johnson & Johnson, have started inviting small groups of mommy bloggers to their main headquarters for personal tours and events. Dodge gave moms a one-of-a-kind experience by inviting them to test-drive a new, fully loaded, Dodge Caravan for an entire week.

Engage mothers on social networking sites.

In early 2009, Nielsen Online reported that new mothers are drawn to social networking sites more than any other group. Some of moms’ favorite online communities are Facebook, MySpace and Twitter. To reach these moms, baby care and juvenile products manufacturer Evenflo started a Facebook page to promote safe use of child car seats. Maria Bailey, co-founder of NewBaby.com, organized a nationwide Twitter tweet-up where moms could come together virtually for a well-deserved night off. Establishing a profile or page on a social networking site is a great baby step into online marketing for companies that are just getting started.

Let the cameras roll.

Just like the rest of the online community, moms like to share their own videos and view others’ clips ranging from kids’ cute antics to how-to videos. Sites like Newbaby.com and MomTV.com are geared toward mothers – not to say that moms don’t frequent the other, more mainstream sites, like YouTube and Google video. There are several ways to use online video to reach out to moms. First, you can post your own instructional, inspirational or entertaining video clips. Another option is to get moms involved in a contest that requires them to submit their own video. For example, Johnson & Johnson recently hosted a YouTube contest, “Big Bubblin’ Stars!,” which solicited funny bath time videos from mothers.

Remember not all moms are created equal.

Although Protector Moms share many of the same concerns when it comes to protecting their children’s health and wellbeing, their demographics vary. Companies should be careful to craft specific messages for each category of Protector Mom. Social networking is a great opportunity for businesses with limited marketing budgets to reach out to moms – the most important thing to remember is that more than a tool for talking “at” moms, social networking is a way to engage moms in conversation to find out what they think of your product, and how you can best serve them.

About the Author:

Mark Vance is the chief marketing officer of RainSoft, a provider of home water treatment and air purification systems. With its dedication to extensive laboratory research and development and rigorous third-party testing, RainSoft is committed to becoming the most trusted source of residential water quality systems in North America. For more information on RainSoft water treatment systems, please call 1-800-RAINSOFT or visit RainSoft.com.